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Issue #81: February 8, 2009

Q: How do I get rid of Antivirus 2009?  This has prevented me from getting online at all. I have searched online sources (with another pc) but most of them want me to buy their anti virus package.  I found a removal tool, but it must be downloaded to the affected machine from the website, which I’m unable to do.  I downloaded manual removal instructions which included deleting files and removing registry entries.  This seemed to remove the program, however I’m still not able to get online without being directed to their website.

– Tim M.
Fort Walton Beach, FL

A: One new trend I’ve seen more and more of lately is software that looks like, and even calls itself an Antivirus package, but in reality, it’s malware, which at best is trying to get you to purchase something, and at worst, spreads itself around using your computer as a host.  The one you mentioned, Tim, is a perfect example.  You probably picked this up by clicking on a legitimate-looking dialog that popped up on your screen with a frantic warning that a virus was found on your system, and helpfully offering to install software to get rid of it.  Please, fellow Geeks, do not fall victim to this kind of trap!  You should already have a legitimate virus scanner on your system, and you should know what the pop-up box looks like when it detects a threat.  You can safely ignore any website pop-ups that tell you you’re infected (or that you’ve won the British Lottery, or that you’re the 1000th customer today).

But I digress.  The question was how to get rid of Antivirus 2009.  There are a number of sites online that provide instructions in addition to fee-based solutions.  Their instructions are far more comprehensive than I can possibly fit into my little 500-word column.  One good one is here:  In your case, Tim, it sounds like you got rid of everything except the Browser Helper Object (BHO) that installs into your Internet Explorer.  Run IE, and go to Tools->Internet Options, select the “Programs” tab, and click “Manage add-ons”.  Highlight the BHO for Antivirus 2009 in the list, and click the “Disable” button near the bottom of the box.  Once the BHO is disabled, you should be able to download the removal tool you mentioned.

TIP OF THE WEEK – Printing Tip #2: Almost all modern printing or copying devices are manufactured with indicators of how the paper is supposed to be placed in the paper tray or auto feeder.  These supposedly universal symbols (that almost nobody pays attention to) are often molded right into the plastic of the machine, and are shaped like pieces of paper with a corner folded down.  There are lines on the paper that represent which side will be printed or scanned (depending on where the paper is going).  The lines will either be on the face that’s up, or visible on the turned-down corner.  The position of the corner represents the top of the page.  Look for these little symbols and learn how to read them (particularly when you’re doing 2-sided printing), and rather than wasting paper and ink by printing test sheets, you’ll always know how to correctly orient your paper.

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